Day 1 UK - Istanbul
Today you’ll fly to Istanbul. On arrival, we'll transfer you to your hotel where dinner is served this evening.
Day 2 Istanbul
Today, embark on our Byzantine and Ottoman Relics tour where we explore Istanbul, the once capital of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. From Sultanahmet Square we'll explore the Hippodrome's stunning obelisks and intriguing history of chariot races. Prepare yourself for breathtaking sights as we visit the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
After lunch at a Turkish restaurant, we'll sharpen our bargaining skills at the Grand Bazaar, the trading hub of the city, where you can find everything from pots and carpets to fruit and spices. Try a slice of Baklava, a sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and honey, and learn the secrets of Turkish coffee-making. Dance to your own tune in the city tonight or join our optional excursion to a Turkish nightclub for a belly-dancing show.
Day 3 Istanbul - Canakkale
After a leisurely breakfast, feel free to explore at your own pace or join our scenic Bosporus cruise. You'll admire the city skyline and views of historic monuments, while experiencing the novelty of a quick crossing from Europe to Asia. We'll also hop off the boat for a glimpse of local life on Istanbul's Asian side.
Settle in for a relaxing afternoon drive to Canakkale, with sweeping views of the Marmara Sea coastline. We'll stop at the famous WWI battlefields of Gallipoli, the poignant resting site of Australian, New Zealand, British and Turkish soldiers. We then cross the historic Dardanelles Channel for dinner and leisure time at our hotel.
Day 4 Canakkale - Izmir
Our first stop today is the city of Troy, bathed in the legends of Homer's the Iliad, an epic poem about the Trojan War. In real life, it's a fascinating archaeological site showcasing more than 3,000 years of history. A treat awaits as we continue to the traditional village of Yesilyurt to see how Gözleme pastries are made and enjoy a tasting served with apple tea. To top the day off, we'll discover the magnificent remains of the Acropolis and Asclepion in the ancient city of Pergamon.
Day 5 Ephesus & Sirince
The UNESCO-listed ancient city of Ephesus is home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This morning we'll tour the massive excavation site that St Paul once visited on his way back to Antioch, as well as stopping to admire the bathhouses and the majestic Library of Celsus.
We'll also visit the Basilica of St Jean, before an afternoon journey into nature at the picturesque village of Sirince. This region is a wine-lover's paradise and is known for producing some of Turkey's best olives and exquisite handmade olive oil products.
Day 6 Izmir - Bursa
Today we'll have breakfast at the hotel before driving through Manisa and Balikesir to our next destination of Bursa. The former capital of the Ottoman Empire is packed full of historic gems, such as the Grand Mosque and the Tombs of Osman and Orhan, the first Ottoman Sultans.
We'll then take a tour to discover the delights of the Silk Market. The quaint and charming stores here offer scarves, fabrics, silver and artistic crafts, all with a stunning backdrop of decorative Ottoman architecture.
Day 7 Bursa - Istanbul
After breakfast we'll head back to Istanbul, arriving in the city by around midday. Spend the afternoon at your leisure or join us for an optional excursion, starting with lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant. After this, we'll visit the Topkapi Palace Museum to see priceless collections including Chinese porcelain and the Imperial Treasury.
This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner and drink in the fisherman's village area of Kumkapi, before enjoying free time in the bright lights of this cosmopolitan city.
Day 8 Istanbul - UK
After breakfast at the hotel, we'll head to the airport for our flight back to the UK.